Ghaiyy­ath de­stroys field from the front as Ap­pleby sets sights on Arc

Trainer in­sists five-year-old is the ‘fin­ished ar­ti­cle’ now Pyledriver wins St Leger trial to leave Muir fac­ing a dilemma

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Racing - By Mar­cus Army­tage Rac­ing coR­Re­spon­dent

Godol­phin may have won the Derby in 2018 with Masar and had last year’s top sprinter Blue Point, but it is a while since it has had a mid­dledis­tance horse to men­tion in the same breath as Swain, Day­lami, Dubai Mil­len­nium and Halling, which it boasted in the early years.

But Ghaiyy­ath can now be added to that list, af­ter the fron­trun­ning five-year-old de­stroyed an­other bunch of high-class mid­dle-dis­tance ri­vals in yes­ter­day’s Jud­dmonte In­ter­na­tional Stakes, com­ing home three lengths clear of Mag­i­cal to land a third straight Group One – with­out see­ing an­other horse.

There is some­thing cap­ti­vat­ing about a horse that can keep do­ing it “the hard way”, from the front. It was one of the things which en­deared great horses such as Desert Or­chid and Per­sian Punch, among oth­ers, to the pub­lic and, in­deed, is part of the rea­son for Bat­taash’s cur­rent pop­u­lar­ity.

Hith­erto wear­ing his heart on his sleeve and, like it or not, giv­ing him­self a hard race ev­ery time has played against the late-de­vel­op­ing son of Dubawi, but with age has come strength and now he does not need months be­tween races.

While it is de­bat­able just who is in charge, the full-on Ghaiyy­ath or Wil­liam Buick, the pair get into a rhythm which is a beat too fast for ev­ery­one else.

Yes­ter­day, Rose Of Kil­dare tried to go with him, but that lasted about half a fur­long and at no stage did Mag­i­cal, who bat­tled on for sec­ond de­spite seem­ing the first beaten, third-placed Lord North or fourth,

Kameko, ever look like pick­ing him up. They were all off the bri­dle just to play catch-up. And when Buick asked Ghaiyy­ath a fur­long and a half out he be­gan to stretch away again and, if he turns up again in the Prix de l’Arc de Tri­om­phe in this sort of form and it is not a bog, he might take some stop­ping.

“He’s the fin­ished ar­ti­cle now and we had a plan this year,” said trainer Char­lie Ap­pleby. “We’d go for the Corona­tion, miss As­cot, run in the Eclipse and go from the Eclipse to here. It’s great to have a plan, but they don’t al­ways work out with horses. Be­cause he put in such big per­for­mances it took him a while to get over them in the past, but this sea­son we are not see­ing these dips af­ter his runs.

“It’s what Godol­phin strives to do, to get great horses like Ghaiyy­ath, so it’s fan­tas­tic for him to de­liver. It wasn’t a search­ing pace, but an hon­est one, and Wil­liam said when he could hear them com­ing he gave him a squeeze and he took off. He’s re­lent­less and won’t lie down. He’s an ex­cep­tional gal­loper. We don’t think he has to lead, but the times we thought there’s been pace in a race it’s lasted half a fur­long and af­ter a fur­long he’s been five lengths clear.”

Ghaiyy­ath’s op­tions now in­clude the Ir­ish Cham­pion, the Arc, the Breed­ers’ Cup or Ja­pan Cup. “The Arc is the race we’d all like to win in Europe,” Ap­pleby said. “When he went last year it wasn’t to make up num­bers, but he went a bit too fast in the con­di­tions.”

Buick said he was the best mid­dle-dis­tance horse he had rid­den. “We’ve seen that be­fore from him,” he said. “He gets into a rhythm and has an amaz­ingly high cruis­ing speed. His com­fort zone is dif­fer­ent to any­thing else. I haven’t seen, or rid­den, an­other horse which can do that. I wouldn’t mind tak­ing on En­able again, it would be fas­ci­nat­ing, but if it was in the Arc it wouldn’t just be the two of us turn­ing up.”

In­deed, one ri­val might be the Wil­liam Muir-trained Pyledriver, who won the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur, tra­di­tion­ally a Leger trial, by 3½ lengths from High­land Chief with a 3lb penalty and his ears pricked. The dilemma now for Muir, Martin Dwyer and the colt’s own­ers is whether they go for the Leger or stick at a mile and a half for the Grand Prix de Paris.

“He was knocked over in the Derby, but I couldn’t be­lieve the dis­tance he made up in the last fur­long and a half,” Muir said.

We have not seen win­ner Ser­pen­tine again, but on the back of this per­for­mance, Pyledriver is begin­ning to look at least sec­ond best of those that ran in the Derby.

Front-run­ner: Ghaiyy­ath heads for vic­tory in the Jud­dmonte In­ter­na­tional at York af­ter an im­pres­sive run with Wil­liam Buick in the sad­dle

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.